“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”
that you may be perfect
The word “perfect” means to finish, to reach an end. The idea is perfection toward a given end or purpose (1:17,25; 3:2). God’s system of trials is not capricious but purposeful. God is interested in bringing us to a successful completion through His sovereign plan.
“Perfect” here does not refer to absolute sinless perfection but to spiritual stability. The more mature we are, the more useful we become for God’s kingdom. Mature people are those who attain the aim God has for them. Maturity does not mean someone who reaches perfection but someone who applies the principles of the Word in a maximum way to his experience. A mature person may stumble, fall, and revert on occasion but he always applies truth to experience to most situations. The fact that he stumbled along the way is incidental to his ultimate maturity.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:12-16).
It is one thing to be a Christian but it is another to be a mature believer.
A baby is a person but not an adult. The baby must go through many years of development before he is at the place where people call him an adult. Initially, when he tries to walk, he often falls down. We do not discourage this because it is part of the process of learning to walk. Pain is part of development.
Perseverance produces maturity in the believer. Those who handle bad situations in God’s way will end up mature and will live with the integrity of someone who learned to walk with God by faith in the face of trials. We then grow up to be genuine spiritual adults (Hebrews 5:14). Maturity is the goal for each believer to pursue.